Most patients younger than age 50 with a torn or severely damaged meniscus experienced reduced pain and improved knee function following transplant surgery, according to a study published in the August 5 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
However, many patients required additional surgery within 10 years.
Frank R. Noyes, MD, Noyes Knee Institute, Cincinnati Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, and colleagues followed 38 meniscal transplant patients aged younger than 50 years who did not have arthritis for an average of 11 years following surgery. Patient outcomes were evaluated based on clinical, subjective, and radiographic measures.
Sixty-three percent of meniscal transplants were viable at 10 years. Only 11% of patients with successful transplants had pain when engaging in daily activities. Also, nearly three-fourths of patients (72%) were able to take part in low-impact sports such as bicycling and swimming.
In patients who required additional surgery, the meniscal transplants lasted between 7 and 8 years after surgery, depending on which side of the knee the meniscus transplant was located.
“This data provides surgeons with reasonable percentages that encourage delaying additional major knee surgeries related to a damaged meniscus,” said Dr. Noyes. “However, the longer-term function of meniscus transplants remains questionable because the survivorship rate of the transplants decreases to between 40% and 15% at 15 years.”
“Patients should be advised that this procedure is not curative in the long-term and additional surgery will most likely be necessary,” he added.
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